The Biggest Differences Between First, Second and Third Shift

You’re interested in taking a new job, but it’s listed as second or third shift. So, what does this mean? Here’s an overview of the biggest differences between first, second and third shift.

Differences Between First, Second and Third Shift

The Time Frame

Even though the exact hours vary, each shift covers a different time of day.

  • First Shift (or Day Shift) runs from early morning to afternoon.
  • Second Shift (or Swing Shift) runs from afternoon to evening.
  • Third Shift (or Night Shift) runs from evening to early morning.

The first shift most closely resembles a traditional 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. work schedule. However, usually start times are a bit earlier at 5, 6, 7 or 8 a.m. A first shift could also be a twelve-hour block such as 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Second shifts covers afternoons and evenings, while night shifts typically begin anywhere between 6 p.m. and midnight. Once again, second and third shifts may cover eight, ten, or twelve-hour blocks.

Individual Preferences

Some people are born night owls. Thus, they don’t mind the idea of working all night, sleeping past noon and enjoying their everyday life in the afternoon. Other people can’t imagine being awake at 3 in the morning! Although first shift tends to be the most popular, many people enjoy the benefits of second and third shift too. For example, at night, there are fewer people (and therefore fewer interruptions) on the job. Plus, commute times are shorter during off-hours. To learn more about the pros and cons of each shift, read What Shift Work Is the Best for You?

Pay Rates

Sometimes, but not always, second and/or third shift pay more. Since many people prefer first shift, companies often use higher wages to “sell” later shifts. If higher pay isn’t an option, companies may provide other second and third-shift benefits such as extra paid vacation days.

Would You Like to Work First, Second or Third Shift?

FirstStaff is hiring for all shifts! Our job placement specialists match talented people with great jobs in Little Rock Arkansas and beyond. Currently, we are searching for light industrial workers, administrative staff and more! Browse our available openings and discover your next opportunity today!


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